2012 Year in Review (Part 2)

Jan 02, 2013
Photos by: Sara Bruestle Zac Jolles, 8, clears the edge of the bowl at “The Muk” Skate Park during the 2012 SUBWAY Washington Games skateboarding competition. Mukilteo Family YMCA hosted the “jam style” competition July 29. Zac competed in the 10 and under division.

Part 2 – continued from last week:

July

Dog park to open this year

It’s been a long-time dream of Sally Osborn’s for Mukilteo to have its own dog park. After three years of effort, that dream is finally coming true.

Construction is underway for an off-leash dog park in Japanese Gulch, just off 5th Street. It is scheduled to open later this year.

The Japanese Gulch Group project includes grading of a meadow to create a 0.75-acre dog park and parking lot on city owned land in the gulch between 5th and 9th streets. The parking lot will be closed until the grading is complete.

“It’s very exciting,” Osborn said. “Every day, I go by there, and it’s progress. It’s really happening.

Boeing supplier to open engineering office here

An aerospace supplier will soon be bringing more aerospace jobs to Mukilteo.

ASCO Design Center USA, Inc. of Belgium announced Monday that it has signed a lease for an engineering office in Mukilteo.

The subsidiary of ASCO Industries NV/SA is locating an office in Mukilteo to better serve customers of its high lift devices and mechanical assembly components for the aerospace industry.

ASCO currently supplies structural devices for the Boeing 777, and is eager to do work for the 737 MAX, the updated version of the 737NG, said John Monroe, chief operating officer of Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Its Mukilteo office will start with five employees with plans for expansion, according to the EASC. The office will be located in the Corbett Building on 13024 Beverly Park Rd., Suite 101.

Woman gives birth at Senior Services office

Shanonne Vaughn’s baby is one of very few of his generation to be born in Mukilteo.

Vaughn, 37, gave birth on July 6 to Richard Louis at the Senior Services of Snohomish County office in Mukilteo, where she works.

A customer service representative for Dial-A-Ride Transportation, Vaughn didn’t realize she was in labor until it was too late to get to a hospital – her baby would be born at the office.

Vaughn’s contractions started at about 3:30 a.m. on July 6, likely sooner. She woke up in pain, but didn’t think much about it. Pain is ordinary for Vaughn, who has multiple sclerosis or MS.

IT expert: New system unnecessary

Mukilteo won’t need to order a new computer system to replace the one that crashed in April because it is still under warranty, according to an IT consultant.

The system’s manufacturer, Dell, has offered to replace all of the failed hard drives for free, as well as any others that may fail while under warranty. The replacement is worth about $25,000.

The city hired the company KDH Consulting Inc. of Lake Forest Park on June 18 to help get the city’s computer system back in operation and to recommend a replacement. Except, the company found out Monday, the city wouldn’t need to buy one after all.

August

Sky’s no limit for these kids

Pilots give disabled children the gift of flight

Children recently rose to the challenge to look past their disabilities and do what they never thought they could do – fly a plane.

About 75 children with disabilities or life-threatening illnesses had the opportunity to ride in planes at the Challenge Air for Kids and Friends Fly Day at the Historic Flight Foundation in Mukilteo on July 21.

Fifteen pilots donated their single-engine aircrafts, and 100 volunteers donated their time to give kids the experience of flight from Paine Field. Most of the children were from Snohomish County.

For 20 minutes, each kid soared 2,000 feet over the blue waters of Possession Sound, to the left of Hat Island, across Whidbey Island, to south of the ferry, and back to Snohomish County’s airport. All of them were given the chance to fly co-pilot, and some of them even piloted the plane.

Couple are Mukilteo’s Citizens of the Year

Steve and Darlene Conklé, of Mukilteo, have been named Mukilteo’s Citizens of the Year.

The Kiwanis-sponsored award is given to a Mukilteo citizen to recognize the outstanding contributions he or she has made to the city. Couples may also be recognized.

The Conklés were honored at the Mukilteo Kiwanis meeting on Aug. 1.

“We are honored to be recognized by the community and be a part of Mukilteo's history,” Darlene said, through some tears. “It’s amazing.”

Nomination letters noted the countless hours the couple has worked as leaders and volunteers for a variety of community service and fundraising events in Mukilteo, year after year.

Closed in Old Town

“Sorry, we’re out of business.”

Seemingly, that sign has been seen too often in Old Town over the past year.

Woody’s is gone. The Muk Hut is gone. Leely's Day Spa & Wine is gone. La Cascada Acapulco – that’s gone, too.

The recent closures have some Mukilteo business owners feeling wary: Is it just the economy? Or is it Old Town?

Some say the issue is the ferry traffic. More than 4 million people pass through Mukilteo annually, taking the ferry between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island. Yet almost none of them stop in Old Town.

They pass through on their way on and off the ferry, not knowing what’s there – and then it isn’t.

History comes alive with pioneer’s tales of old Mukilteo

Marlene “Tudy” Scheller Erickson remembers that the swimming was better in Mukilteo when she was growing up: The water was warmer, the beach sandier.

“We swam down by McConnell’s Boathouse all summer long,” Erickson said. “When the tide came in it would be so warm. We had hotter summers then.

“We had colder winters and more snow, too. We would go sleigh riding down the Speedway.”

Erickson is the 2012 Mukilteo Historical Society Pioneer of the Year, chosen by MHS members as a way to commemorate the history of Mukilteo.

Her memories were recorded on video during an MHS meeting at Rosehill Community Center on Aug. 9.

An officer and his dog: An inside look at a K-9 team

Cpl. Josh McClure will never forget the night he went on a ride-along with a police officer and his K-9. Not yet an officer himself, he was then just 17 years old.

The officer pulled into a dark park and told McClure to put on a bite sleeve used in training and walk off into the darkness. He then sent his dog – which was raring to go – out after McClure.

“The dog bit the sleeve, and I was hooked,” McClure said. “It was one of the most terrifying and fun things I’ve ever experienced at the same time. From that day on, I knew that I wanted to do that job.”

Recently promoted to corporal, McClure has been with the Edmonds Police Department for 13 years. For six of those years, he has been on one of Edmonds’ two K-9 teams, working nightshift with his partner, Dash. Dash is a German Shepherd police dog.

He and Dash also teach a class for the Mukilteo Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy, which introduces the public to law enforcement and the day-to-day operations of the police department. Mukilteo does not have its own K-9 team.

September

Pizzeria moves to Mukilteo Speedway

A local pizzeria has moved into the “jinxed location” on the Mukilteo Speedway that most recently was the Pointe After Casino.

Lombardo’s Pizzeria opened its new location at 10809 Mukilteo Speedway on the city-county line last month.

A variety of owners have tried – and failed – to turn that spot into a successful business.

Before it was the Pointe After Casino, and then the Pointe After Lounge, the establishment had also been Soft Sam’s, Big Sam’s, the Monkey Trap, the Convergence Zone, Cartwright’s American Broiler and then Cherry Blossom Thai and Sushi.

Most recently, the owner of the Pointe After Lounge had applied for a business license to open a strip club there. County officials denied the license.

Many in and around Mukilteo have said that spot is “jinxed,” Lombardo’s owner Michael Skeffington included. However, Skeffington said the jinx is finally over.

Lighthouse volunteer awarded first key to the city

Mayor Joe Marine presented the first and only Key to the City during the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival on Sept. 8 to honor Mukilteo Historical Society’s Ellen Koch.

Koch, of Everett, was recognized in a ceremony on Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse Quarters A with the Pioneer of the Year Marlene “Tudy” Scheller Erickson and Citizens of the Year Steve and Darlene Conklé.

The key had been kept a secret from Koch until the mayor revealed that the special honor – a beautifully engraved glass key – was hers.

Koch, 67, has been involved in the historical society for more than 18 years, helping to preserve the lighthouse and the history of Mukilteo. She has been an MHS president or vice president several times and a board member for the last nine years.

Her specialty – her passion – has been the Mukilteo Light Station. Koch has volunteered for all things lighthouse throughout the years.

FAA: Commercial flights would have little impact

Horizon no longer interested in flying out of Paine Field airport

Two and a half years later, the final environmental study of passenger air service at Paine Field reports the same findings as it did before: That adding commercial flights to the airport would not significantly increase noise, traffic or air pollution.

The Federal Aviation Administration released its final Environmental Assessment on Sept. 14, which responds to more than 900 comments made in early 2010 in response to a draft of the study.

The final EA reviews the impacts of adding up to 23 flights per day by Horizon Air and Allegiant Air to the Snohomish County Airport, and has found that environmentally there would be “no significant impact.” The draft EA had studied less than half the number of flights per day.

Local pilot wins gold in Reno Air Races

The fastest Glasair airplane in the world is right here in Mukilteo.

Jeff LaVelle, of Mukilteo, won gold in the Sport Class on Sept. 16 in the 2012 Reno National Championship Air Races with his Glasair III, known as Race 39.

His Glasair dominated the class: LaVelle’s aircraft was the fastest type, fastest qualifier; he won every heat race, and then won the championship race on Sunday. His fastest speed was 393.552 mph.

While LaVelle did not officially record speeds over 400 mph, he was unofficially clocked at 403 mph during his final gold race.

“My airplane was flawless,” LaVelle said. “You couldn’t have asked for a better finish.”

“Glasairs typically aren’t that fast,” he added. “Certainly, mine is real fast. Now I’m the fastest. Period.”

October

Burglar apprehended in Old Town Mukilteo

Break-ins down since 2006

A watchful resident helped police catch a burglar before he broke into a neighbor’s Old Town home on Monday, Sept. 24.

Mukilteo police caught the suspect at about 10:05 a.m. in the backyard of a home he was attempting to burglarize on the 900 block of 4th Street. After officers obtained a written confession, the man was arrested for residential burglary and booked into Snohomish County Jail.

As he cased the neighborhood, the burglar didn’t realize a member of Old Town’s Neighborhood Block Watch was watching him.

Through Sept. 24, there have been 87 reported burglaries in Mukilteo this year, according to police. Since 2006, the number of burglaries has gone down in Mukilteo. That year, there were 191 reported burglaries.

Woman convicted of beating, starving girl

A Mukilteo woman faces decades in prison after she was found guilty of child abuse after starving and beating a 10-year-old girl for nearly a year.

Mary Mazalic, 35, was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment of her boyfriend’s 10-year-old sister, as well as of tampering of a witness. After a week-long trial, a jury found her guilty on Sept. 27.

Jurors also concluded that the crimes were deliberately cruel, the victim was particularly vulnerable, and that Mazalic had abused her position of trust. Those special verdicts will allow the state to seek a sentence above the standard range.

Future road for ferry traffic cut from plans

Although several fought to keep it in, reference to a future road for ferry traffic in the city’s Comprehensive Plan will be removed.

Mukilteo City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to remove all references to an alternate ferry access road from the city’s 20-year plan.

The decision goes against the city Planning Commission’s wishes, which unanimously voted to recommend leaving an alternative road in the plans.

The road was in the Comprehensive Plan as an alternative to SR525 for providing access to the ferry terminal if and when the terminal is moved. References to Japanese Gulch were previously removed.

Salmon return with creek project’s end

A four-phase project to return salmon to a creek in Mukilteo is finished – and already fish have been seen passing through.

The city didn’t do the $185,000 Fish Passage Project to improve fish passage through Japanese Gulch Creek on it’s own, but through partnerships with more than 10 agencies, including Paine Field Airport, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Edmonds Community College.

An awards ceremony and ribbon cutting was held Oct. 13 in the lower Japanese Gulch to celebrate the completion of the project. Mukilteo received two awards.

Parking stays free

Residents speak up, council listens

Mukilteans spoke up and have been heard: No one will have to pay to park at Lighthouse Park or on the waterfront.

After receiving many letters from residents, and continued talks on the issue, Mukilteo City Council voted unanimously against implementing paid parking in the park or on surrounding streets.

Parking at Lighthouse Park will continue to be free and available first come, first served.

“If it wasn’t for the residents writing in to the city, we’d be voting for it tonight,” Councilmember Steve Schmalz said. “The residents get credit for this because they’re the ones that stepped up and made their voices known.”

The council voted to direct city staff to instead work with the Port of Everett to set up a parking lot on the Tank Farm after it transfers and with Sound Transit on its plans to construct a parking garage on the waterfront.

November

Man charged in child abuse case

A Mukilteo man whose girlfriend was recently convicted of starving and beating his younger sister has now been was charged with the same crimes.

Derron Alexis, 43, was charged Oct. 29 with first-degree criminal mistreatment of his 10-year-old adopted sister. Police waited until after his live-in girlfriend was convicted to charge him in the case. He has not been arrested.

Prosecutors allege Alexis beat the girl with a belt and withheld food, medical attention and other basic necessities of life.

The girl was so severely malnourished when she was removed from the couple’s home that she weighed only 51 pounds. She was also covered in bruises, scars and had an open wound.

Gulch levy fails at 58%

Conversely, school bus measure passes

It looks like voters passed only one of two Mukilteo levies on the Nov. 6 ballot.

As of Tuesday, Mukilteo Proposition 1 to fund land acquisition in Japanese Gulch had failed to get the supermajority it needed.

Prop. 1 was at 58.09 percent, according to results released by Snohomish County Elections around 5 p.m. Tuesday. That is about 189 votes shy of the required 60 percent the measure needs to pass.

Conversely, Mukilteo School District Resolution 8, a measure to fund the purchase of new school buses, passed with 59.32 percent of the vote, according to election results. It required a simple majority.

Dentists help with Sandy relief effort at local level

Though Mukilteo is on the West Coast, many in the community are reaching across the country to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Mukilteans have raised more than $2,500 in a week to help victims of the storm through a Mukilteo Dental Center fundraiser for which the office matched donations made to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. The fundraiser ends on Nov. 25.

Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29, devastating communities from North Carolina to Maine. The storm killed more than 130 Americans. Estimated property losses are $50 billion, ranking the storm among the most expensive U.S. disasters. It also cut power to roughly 8.5 million homes and businesses in at least 10 states. Some are still without power.

The storm hit close to home – figuratively speaking – for the Mukilteo Dental Center when one of the office’s dentists was stranded for several days in Virginia.

Ferry turns around to drop off captain

Delay follows several canceled runs

An early-morning ferry was forced to turn around halfway to Mukilteo and go back to Clinton on Nov. 21 because a captain who was supposed to be steering the other ferry on the route was still onboard.

The captain, scheduled to steer the Kittitas at 5:10 a.m., had spent the night before on the Cathlamet, which was tied up at the Clinton dock. He didn't get off the Cathlamet before it set out at 4:40 a.m., so the Kittitas was without a captain.

The Cathlamet turned around to drop off the captain – who had apparently overslept – and then resumed its route to Mukilteo, said Washington State Ferries spokesperson Marta Coursey. She said both ferry runs on the Mukilteo-Clinton route were delayed about 20 minutes.

The delay follows a large number of canceled or late sailings as a result of staffing issues in the ferry system, although it appears to have been unrelated.

December

Woman sentenced to 30 years for torturing girl

A judge sentenced a Mukilteo woman to 30 years in prison on Nov. 29 for beating, burning and starving a 10-year-old girl.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Michael Downes described the abuse of the girl as “horrendous and gratuitous.” She was beaten with whips, burned with cigarettes and denied food. She weighed 51 pounds when she was rescued last year.

A jury convicted Mary Mazalic, 35, of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment of her boyfriend’s 10-year-old sister, as well as tampering of a witness.

Downes said Mazalic was deliberately cruel and that the torture she put the child through is “stark proof of how low humans can sink.”

FAA clears Paine Field for passenger service

The FAA decision that many airport area residents feared but expected came down Tuesday: Permitting commercial passenger service at Paine Field will not have significant adverse effects on the community.

The decision reinforced the agency’s previous conclusion that pollution, traffic, noise and other consequences of commercial jet traffic would not be significant enough to require a thorough environmental review.

Two airlines had previously indicated an interest in using Paine Field for commercial service – Alaska/Horizon and Allegiant.

During the three years the FAA took to come to its decision, Horizon decided it was no longer interested, and would focus on Sea-Tac instead.

But Las Vegas-based Allegiant continues to express interest. A spokesman said they would like to start with four flights per week, increasing to about 20 per week over the next five years.

Found artifacts tell story of lost community

Although they are long gone, the remnants of a company town in a Mukilteo gulch help to give a voice to the people who once called it home.

Local college students from the Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field School (LEAF) shared on Dec. 6 the stories of artifacts they recovered during a Japanese Gulch archeological dig.

They and their instructors presented a lecture, “Voices from the Dirt: Japanese Gulch Artifacts,” at the Everett Music Project Theater in the Everett Mall. More than 70 history buffs listened to the stories.

As practicing archeologists, LEAF School students excavated a site in the gulch over the summer. They were looking for remnants of the Japanese American community that lived there in the early 1900s – and they found many.

The artifacts they collected help to tell the story of the Crown Lumber Co. community, known at the time as “Japan Town,” that thrived for nearly 30 years up until the Great Depression.

City to appeal FAA’s Paine Field ruling

Don’t start packing your bag for a flight out of Paine Field just yet.

The Mukilteo City Council on Monday unanimously voted to appeal the FAA decision to permit commercial passenger service out of the Snohomish County Airport.

The city has enlisted the services of Dr. Barbara Lichman, an attorney who specializes in airport-related issues.

During an executive session, the council consulted with Dr. Lichman for about 20 minutes, then passed a resolution in open session directing the city administration to move forward with an appeal.

The appeal will be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, challenging the FAA’s ruling.

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